February 17, 2012, 10:30 AM

U.K. e-commerce spending increases 16% in January

Web shoppers spend more on lingerie, booze, beauty products and travel.

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Online shoppers in the United Kingdom last month spent 6 billion pounds (US$9.48 billion), up 16% from January 2010, according to estimates released today by the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail trade group commonly known at IMRG, and Capgemini, a consultancy.

By contrast, spending last month at bricks-and-mortar retailers in the United Kingdom increased only 2.1% compared with January 2010, according to the British Retail Consortium, another trade group.

“The steady march of customers moving from the high street to online channels continues and if anything, accelerates as savvy shoppers look to make their wages stretch further,” says Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, using the British term for physical shopping districts.  

The report says that online spending increased 30% for lingerie; 29% for health and beauty products; 23% for fashion accessories; and 23% for beer, wine and spirits—though online purchases of booze decreased 66% in January 2012 compared with December 2011, “a result, no doubt, of Brits looking to detox after Christmas,” the report offers.

Here are the year-over-year spending changes for other product categories in January; the report gave no spending figures:

• Footwear, 13%

• Clothing, footwear and accessories (in total), 13%

• Consumer electronics, 10%

• Gifts, -3%

Travel, 16%

IMRG had previously reported that e-commerce spending in the United Kingdom increased 16% in all of 2011 compared with 2010, to approximately 68 billion pounds (US$107.53 billion). That exceeds the 2.2% growth for all U.K. retail sales in 2011 reported by the British Retail Consortium.

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